Back when I was a wee little high schooler, there was a core group of bands that I was completely obsessed with. One of these punk/alternative/rock bands was The Academy Is… I’m not sure what it was, maybe it was the sweet beats or the strangely deep lyrics that my lost teen soul craved, but I dropped $$ on albums, concert tickets and other assorted merchandise, granted this was all before I had any bills to pay… But nonetheless, this band provided what my awkward teen girl self was looking for at the time.
Admittedly, I stopped keeping up to date with the band after I graduated from high school. I discovered other artists and started to leave behind the ones that had served me well in the past. However, back in April, I happened to stumble upon William Beckett’s (former frontman of the band) twitter page and found out that he was releasing a solo EP that same day. Out of curiosity, I dropped the $4 for the iTunes purchase of the EP just to check it out. I had my doubts at first, seeing as my music tastes had evolved over the past few years, but I fell in love with the songs I heard.
When listening to the tracks, I felt like William’s style had evolved much like my musical tastes have. He still has that great sing-along feel of the Academy Is… but the lyrics have matured and seem more personal to him. The same can be said for the music itself, the desire to dance is still there, but with a more acoustic vibe rather than the heavy distorted electric guitar. This is not to say that The Academy Is… doesn’t still hold a special place in my heart, but given the person I have become since leaving high school, William’s new music is much more suited to my current tastes.
I had the pleasure of seeing William at The Social last night. As someone who has seen The Academy Is… live at least twice (I went to so many concerts in high school that I forget how many times I’ve seen certain artists sometimes) this was definitely a different experience. Back in 2009, seeing him and the rest of the band involved a large, sweaty crowd crammed into the House of Blues, but last night at the Social there was a much smaller, intimate crowd. He could probably see my lazy butt sitting on the (stage) left edge of the “pit” because, seriously, standing is really tiring sometimes. However, that didn’t keep William from putting on a great show and being just as lively and entertaining as he would have been at a larger venue even without bandmates to exchange back and forth with. Not only did he play great music, but he entertained the crowd with stories from the tour, banter about his favorite TV shows (he’s a fan of Parks and Rec and Downton Abbey), and even Rick Rolled the crowd. Learn more about William’s musical journey in this short documentary, be prepared for some adorable father/daughter interaction.
Along on tour, William brought singer/songwriter Cara Salimando. Although I had never heard her before, I was more than pleasantly surprised and instantly fell in love with her and her music. Not only is she adorably awkward, but she has a fantastic voice and is a songwriting machine/genius. She loves cats, plays the ukulele and occasionally dresses like Sailor Moon, so naturally I went and bought all of her songs. I assume she’ll use the $8 or so that she makes off of my purchases to buy her cats some sweet toys, which I’m more than okay with.